Rise in first-time homelessness during the pandemic

Rise in first-time homelessness during the pandemic
Posted at 1:21 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 15:17:31-04

BOISE, Idaho — As the temperatures start to plummet, Ada County is seeing an increase in families experiencing homelessness. The nonprofit group CATCH says there are 220 families waiting for housing right now, as the coronavirus pandemic has led to more families seeking shelter.

CATCH Housing says the impacts of this pandemic on homelessness could extend several years.

"Typically we have about 150 to 170 families since the pandemic hit, we’re now over 200 and most recently 220 families waiting to get housing services like CATCH," said Rachel Flachbart, development manager.

They have hired two more case managers in Ada County and one in Canyon County to help with the increasing numbers.

“What we're seeing is a lot more instances of one parent working and one parent staying home with children, and these are larger families, and once COVID hit, whoever was working got laid off and they ended up losing their home and entering our path housing for the first time," said Flachbart.

CATCH also provides self-rescue manuals, which connect those experiencing homelessness to resources for mental health, medical and career support.

"When we talk about ending homelessness for a family, it's not just one person, but three to five family members typically," Flachbart said.

Adding more case managers is one part of the solution. Another is housing support specialists, who work as go-between landlords and families in need.

"Building those relationships because we know it's also part of the issues is how do we get more affordable housing in Ada County to get more families into housing," said Flachbart.

For families looking for support, visit Our Path Home Connection or call 208-246-8830 to be connected to resources. CATCH is hosting its annual fundraiser on October 29 and our Jessica Taylor is the emcee of the event. If you still want to donate to the cause, click here.